Popular culture refers to a set of ideas, feelings, perceptions, descriptions or impressions that are constantly reasoned through informal agreements in a given society (Mashable.com, 2005). This notion is commonly known as “pop culture” and is mostly prominent in the mass media where detailed accounts of people’s lives usually flood on a daily basis (Mashable.com, 2005).
Today’s society is facing a lot of challenges such as drug abuse, war, prevalence in crime among others (Mashable.com, 2005); all these have grown to create many social problems and therefore, there is greater need for the community to work hard in order to eliminate this social problem that is becoming rampant in many societies. One of the major social evils is the issue of drug abuse that has become so prevalent in the society especially among young generation.
Drug abuse is an issue that should be addressed with a lot of concern and it is important for every individual in the society to tackle this issue as a personal responsibility in order to safeguard the next generation. The topic under discussion for this paper will mainly focus on issues of drug abuse since this is a major social challenge that is rapidly taking roots in the society at all levels which means everyone is affected in one way or another. It is therefore necessary to educate and make people aware of the dangers of drug and substance.
It is no doubt that pop culture has both positive and negative influence on issues of drug abuse especially in this era of globalization due to the easy access to information especially through the internet which happens to be one of the major medium of information such as musical lyrics, videos and films among others. In this regard, the discussion below will also focus on popular culture that is positive and educative on issues of drug abuse.
The five category of music lyrics includes music by; Ben Harper, in the album Radiohead (2008) “The drugs don’t work”, Bare-naked Ladies, in the album Everything to Everyone “war on drugs” (2003), Lily Allen, in the album Everyone’s at It “Everyone’s at it” (2008) and finally the lyrics by Alice in Chains, Album Dirt “Hate To Feel”, (1992) (Songmeanings.net, 2007).
Analysis of the musical lyrics
First let us discuss the work of art by Ben Harper, in the album Radiohead “The drugs don’t work” (2008) (Songmeanings.net, 2007); this is a music lyrics that targets the young generation.
The artist has been very persistence in educating youths on the dangers of drug and substance abuse; in this song he is discouraging the youths from using drugs for many reasons. The theme of this song is “drugs do no work” and therefore anyone using drugs should try to put a stop to this habit because drug abuse has no positive impacts to human life (Songmeanings.net, 2007).
Secondly, there is the music by a group known as Bare-naked Ladies, in the album “everything to everyone” (2003) which also advocates for drug free society (MacKenzie, 2011). The artists laments how drugs have destroyed youths in many societies because of the dangers that they pose to the users; a vice that is described by the artist as evils of the society in the music lyrics which states “drugs are demons” hence the humanity should now realize the need to get over drugs and substance abuse (MacKenzie, 2011).
The third music lyrics is by Weezer in the album Make Believe “we are all on drugs” (2005) (Beemp3.com, 2011); this is creative work of art in which the artist is ridiculing the youths who are doing drug abuse, the artist argues that, “The youths think they are cool” when they are under influence of drugs (Beemp3.com, 2011).
According to the artist, it is time the youths face issues of life from a sober angle since the reality of life does not care whether you’re using drugs or not, the reality is tough and life is hard, drugs can’t work they will only destroy one’s life; that is the advice of the artist in this song (Beemp3.com, 2011).
Another positive music lyric is one by Lily Allen in the album “Everyone’s at it” (2008) (Musicloversgroup.com, 2008). In this creative work, the artist is very keen and observant about issues that affects the society one of the main and dangerous one being drug abuse (Musicloversgroup.com, 2008).
So in this song the artist is also lamenting the dangers of drugs and the theme of the music is one that advocates against tackling the problem with issues of drug abuse by arguing the youths to refrain from using drugs that has now become the culture in the society. This is the reason that the artist asserts in the music lyrics that “Everyone is at it” which is the title of the music album (Musicloversgroup.com, 2008).
Finally, the music lyrics by Alice in Chains in the album Dirt, “Hate To Feel” (1992) is educative work of art because the artist is sharing her personal experience after having done drugs which she eventually stopped (Cduniverse.com, 2011). The artist says that, when she tried to abuse heroin drug, it was a bad experience which she says was not anything she would want to ever feel again.
After this incidence, the artist is very cautious and sensitive about drugs abuse, and for this particular reason she is advising the youths and general public not to make an attempt or try to use drugs at any one time because they have severe effects to the body (Cduniverse.com, 2011).
Other materials and peer reviewed articles
In addition to the music lyrics, the following internet resources address the issues of drug abuse; these sources are “Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs to” (Last.fm, 2011) and “Report: teens using digital drugs to get high” (Thebeerbarrel.net, 2011).
The first online resource is a joint policy that was drafted with an intention of enlightening the youths in order to persuade them from listening to music that encouraged drug abuse (Last.fm, 2011). The article was written with an aim of educating the mainly young generations who are most affected by drugs and often influenced through music that portray drugs as cool and great to use; thus the theme of this article “just say no” (Last.fm, 2011).
The other source also an online article is a report released on how the young generation are listening to music on the internet to take drugs, the procedure through which drugs are taken is so dangerous as it involves use of digital drugs or i-drugs absorbed through the internet when an individual is listening to music as claimed by this paper (Thebeerbarrel.net, 2011). This particular report is meant to enlighten the parents about what is really happening in order for the parents to take precautions that prevent this.
Furthermore, substance abuse treatment and prevention policy (SAPPT) is a peer reviewed article that is also addressing this social problem (Substanceabusepolicy.com, 2011). This journal article is mainly discussing ways in which good environment can be created especially on the internet where the public can be able to discuss various ideas on ways of reducing drug and substance abuse (Substanceabusepolicy.com, 2011).
Popular culture is a very influential work of art; thus, it is important for artists to use such art in communicating positive information that can address issues of importance especially those that pertain social problems so as to facilitate positive social change.
Besides, artists themselves should also be enlightened on dangers of drug abuse which is also rampant amongst them this is because they are the role models of the society. They should understand that, they are the mirror of the society and therefore they should be sensitive on those ideas that they are communicating to the public because some people especially the youths are very keen to take the message.
Beemp3.com. (2011). Weezer – We Are All On Drugs: Free MP3 Download. Web.
Cduniverse.com. (2011). Alice in Chains, Album: Dirt. Web.
Last.fm. (2011). Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs to Group. Web.
MacKenzie, W. (2011) Everything to Everyone – Barenaked Ladies. Web.
Mashable.com. (2005). Popular Culture. Web.
Musicloversgroup.com. (2008). Lily Allen – Everyone’s at It Lyrics and Video. Web.
Songmeanings.net. (2007). Songmeanings Lyrics The – The Drugs Don’t Work.Web.
Substanceabusepolicy.com. (2011). SAPPT. Web.
Thebeerbarrel.net (2011) Report: Teens Using Digital Drugs to Get High. Web.